England cruised to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first of the five T20Is played in Christchurch today. In what was their first meeting post the infamous ICC World Cup final at Lord’s in July this year, England continued their winning run against the Kiwis despite playing an almost second-string side. Sam Curran, Lewis Gregory, and Pat Brown made T20I debuts for their national side, while recently appointed Chris Silverwood too enjoyed a winning start in his first match as head coach of the Three Lions.
In place of regular captain Kane Williamson, who was ruled out of the T20I series due to a hip injury, Tim Southee walked out for the toss alongside Eoin Morgan. New Zealand were put in to bat first and with only six runs on the board, lost their experienced opener Martin Guptill to debutant Sam Curran. Colin Munro and Tim Seifert steadied the innings with a 33-run partnership before Chris Jordan got rid of the dangerous-looking pair in quick session.
Ross Taylor’s 44 runs off only 35 balls helped bring some respite to the scorecard and added 56 runs for the fifth wicket with Daryl Mitchell. The Kiwi innings never really got going as they could only manage 153 runs in their 20 overs. Brown also claimed his first T20I wicket when he dismissed Ross Taylor, caught by Jonny Bairstow. Jordan emerged as the best England bowler with figures of two for 28 runs in four overs.
In reply, Bairstow and Dawid Malan added 37 runs for the first wicket in 33 balls without being troubled much by the fast bowlers. Bairstow was extremely severe on Scott Kuggeleijn, whacking him for 18 runs in the third over of the innings. However, Mitchell Santner was brought in as soon as the sixth over to curb the free flowing-Bairstow and keep New Zealand in the game.
Santner immediately got into the thick of things as he removed Malan with the fourth ball of his first over. James Vince came in and scored a calculated innings of 59 in 38 deliveries to take the game away from the hosts. He stitched important partnerships of 31 and 54 runs with Bairstow and Morgan before falling to the guile of Santner. The left-arm spinner ended the match with a three-for but no help from other bowlers resulted in an easy seven-wicket win for England. Morgan remained unbeaten on 34 runs off 21 balls and along with Sam Billings, saw the team home with nine balls to spare. James Vince was adjudged the player of the match for his classy fifty.
The second match will be played at Wellington on November 3rd, followed by matches at Nelson, Napier, and Auckland on November 5th, 8th and 10th, respectively.Published 01 Nov 2019, 13:22 IST